Earlier posts in this series: PMP: The Plan
I referred to just two sources for my PMP preparation.
This one is fairly obvious. PMI conducts the PMP exam and if it publishes a book and names it Project Management Book of Knowledge, you better use it for preparation. This book is the bible for PMP exam. It contains the list of Knowledge Areas, the processes contained within each Knowledge Area and the ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs) for each process. There are 10 Knowledge Areas, a total of 47 processes. You are better off if you can memorize the table that details out the Knowledge Areas and their processes categorized according to phases. I will go one step further and say memorize the ITTOs too. I know it is not easy, but it is doable. I did it developing my own mnemonics and it helped me a great deal in the exam. I had more than 30 ITTO questions, so do not take this lightly. It took me 2 days to memorize the ITTOs and once I had it down, it was revising it everyday for 20 minutes to make sure I can reproduce it from memory. I hope to cover the memorization process I used later in the blog.
2. Rita Mulchay’s PMP Exam Prep
If you are not very confident of your PM experience and still want to ace the exam, this is the book for you. The unique thing about this book is while it prepares you for the PMP exam, it also teaches you a lot of things about project management. There is an exercise at the end of every chapter and this helps in identifying your gaps. For the chapters where you score low, make sure you revisit and re-read and retake the exercise.
The study method I followed was like this. I read PMBoK once to know what PMP is all about. At the end of this, I had a fair idea where I stood. I memorized the process chart. Then I started the second round of PMBoK, focusing on the ITTOs. I would read one chapter from PMBoK, memorize the ITTO, read the corresponding chapter from Rita’s book and then answer the questions. One knowledge area would take me 2-3 days because I would go deep into each topic to understand. Rita’s book helped me a lot in understanding why the ITTOs were used for the process. The logic plus the memorization was a big help. Apart from these two books, I often visited Edward’s PMP Notes to see if there was something I should know which wasn’t covered. If I came across something, I would google and learn it before proceeding further.
After I finished this cycle, I took up mock exams, which helped me identify my weak points and revisited these in PMBoK and Rita. There are many sites online which help you answer questions from a particular Knowledge Area, which I used to fill the gaps.
A few other books which I often saw recommended are Head First PMP and How to pass PMP in your first try. I did not read these books because I didn’t have these books and I didn’t want information overload. In hindsight, it was a wise decision because I did not see any ‘out of scope’ question on the exam.
More than the studying itself, I owe a lot to the mock exams. They really helped me in filling gaps and improving my confidence. It also helps to know what it takes to sit at a place for four hours for the exam.